Thursday, 11 June 2009

FAB POW! Sushi

I haven’t done a Food and Beer Pairing of the Week for a while... Let’s get back on it with pairings for a whole bloody cuisine.

I love sushi more than a deadly ninja loves those hot geisha babes. Seriously. I’m like a samurai warrior, only my weapon of choice is a pair of chopsticks. I don’t eat it nearly often enough but when I do I throw it down like a sumo wrestler kicking some ass. It’s healthy like a Prius, fresh like the summit of Mount Fuji, hipper than manga. I like it with more zing than a Pikachu scorned, more fire than a flaming Charizard and to be more gorgeous than Jigglypuff. Salmon skin rolls, I choose you! And beer and sushi: it’s a better than a Battle Royale between Godzilla and Optimus Prime!

Phew! Now that’s over with let’s get on with the show. I’ve had some excellent sushi recently from the stall in Greenwich Market and I’m seriously craving it all the time. Honestly, as I sit here now I just want to dive into big mound of handrolls and go nuts.

There are some wicked pairings to be had with beer and sushi and you are dealing with the spectrum of taste - sweet, salty, umami, sour and bitter (the bitter is in the beer). You need subtle flavours to work with the sweet fish but you also need something which can stand up to the eye-watering wasabi and the pickled ginger. And if you’ve got tempura or noodles then you need something to refresh the mouth after and clean-up all those fatty-salty juices. I think there are two sensible routes:

Option 1: A dark beer with hints of roast malt and smoke and a fair whack of hop bitterness to lift the palate. The beer needs to be light bodied but full flavoured. The result is that the roasted flavours sweeten the fish and the smokiness and hops deal with the wasabi. Look at Gadds’ Dogbolter, Henley Dark, Brewdog Zeitgeist, DarkStar Over the Moon, Thornbridge Ashford and I’m tempted to suggest Schlenkerla Weizen, but I haven’t tried it myself yet so who knows.

Option 2: A crisp lager or pale ale. Something light but hoppy enough to sweep all the flavours up and wash them down again. Think Asahi. Think Kirin Ichiban. Think outside the box: Hopdaemon’s Skrimshander IPA, Gadds’ No.3, Dorothy Goodbody’s Golden Ale, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Brooklyn Lager, Stone’s Levitation Ale.

And there’s an option for ninjas: BrewDog’s Storm. This is one awesomely esoteric beer and it works so well. The earthy smoke and biting hops blend so well with the sushi and add a completely different dimension of flavour. And as the Japanese are big whisky drinkers there is some logic there too (Japanese food + Japanese drink = Japanese awesome – Sugoi!).

Anyone had any good food and beer pairings recently? Anyone had anything good with sushi? And if anyone knows of any ‘BYOB’ sushi places in the south-east then let me know so I can take a few bottles along and have a jolly old time.


  1. Liams-

    I usually drink Sake when I eat sushi, because Japanese beer as a whole is shit. There are many different types of sake. Styles vary from how it was mashed, how it was handled after fermentation, and how it was actually made. Some use polished rice, some have alcohol added to them. Then there's serving it hot or cold and the variety of cups.

    Take care and be sure to check out tomorrows nude lady resting in a peaceful, extraneous co2 environment.

  2. I've never actually had sake. There's always one of those 'shall I get sake or beer?' moments but beer always wins, even if it is just an Asahi.

  3. Yeah! Another sushi addict! I am a proper sushi fiend. Have you been to sushi Hiro? It's ace. I must get my review up.